ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Yojimbo (1961)

Japan 110m, B&W
Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cast: Toshirō Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada

yojimboFollowing the story of a masterless Samurai for hire, Yojimbo is one of the most influential films of the western action genre. It stars the incomparable Toshiro Mifune as a cunning Samurai who uses his formidable sword skills for profit as he sways the balance of power in a town which has been taken over by two opposing gangs. While his initial motives are for personal gain, he soon takes pity on the most victimized of the citizenry and his motives become increasingly altruistic. This is one of the most exciting and darkly humorous of Kurosawa’s films, and probably the most entertaining. It also helped establish modern western archetypes which were popularized in the 1960s and 70s by Sergio Leone’s remake A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and a number of subsequent so-called “Spaghetti Westerns” (Klaus Ming January 2011).

6 comments on “Yojimbo (1961)

  1. Klaus

    I think i may have a new favorite Kurosawa film in Yojimbo. While it may not be his best film, it is easily the most entertaining i’ve seen to date.

    I have my work cut out for me with six remaining films from AK100 and only four days left!

  2. Dave Becker

    Wow! Great job, Klaus, of getting through these films. I’m a Kurosawa fan, and this project of yours has shown me how many of the great director’s films I still have yet to see!

    And I love YOJIMBO as well, though it would only make the top-5 for me (behind RASHOMON, SEVEN SAMURAI and IKIRU)

  3. Klaus

    Thanks Dave! It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve continually been amazed at the quality of all of these films, and am astonished at the breadth of influence that Kurosawa had on film making. Quite incredible.

  4. Klaus

    Having just watched A Fistful of Dollars and considering it’s influence on Western genre films, i’m astonished that Yojimbo didn’t make it to the 1001 list.

    • Hoosier X

      It’s one of most glaring omissions on the Top 1001. Yojimbo is my favorite Kurosawa film.

      Yojimbo’s absence from the 1001 list is even worse than the lack of Hitchcock’s Suspicion!

      • Klaus

        Definitely one of my favourite Kurosawa films as well, and easily a 1001 candidate.

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This entry was posted on 01/26/2011 by in 1960s, All, Unlisted and tagged .
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